Supporting workers in a time of crisis: Key steps for governments and employers

March 16, 2020

Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government and its provincial and territorial counterparts to provide immediate income support to workers in self-isolation, quarantine or who are addressing child care needs.

Income support will be critical to minimizing the economic impact of COVID-19.

In addition, the Canadian Labour Congress is calling on all governments and employers to take every step necessary to protect the health and well-being of workers, including health care workers who are on the frontlines of this public health emergency. These measures include:

  1. Permitting flexible work arrangements, telecommuting, video and teleconferencing, ending non-essential travel, and postponing unnecessary meetings and events.
  2. Providing paid sick leave under short-term disability and sick leave plans while maintaining drug coverage.
  3. Providing 14 days paid sick leave for workers under prevailing federal, provincial and territorial labour standards to cover the quarantine period. 
  4. Waiving any requirement for a doctor’s note to permit sick leave.
  5. Prohibiting coronavirus testing as a condition of continued employment.
  6. Working with Service Canada to take full advantage of the improved EI Work-Sharing Program to minimize layoffs.
  7. Working closely with health and safety committees and unions to provide accurate and timely information to employees about accessing benefits and support.
  8. Providing compassionate care and bereavement leave support to employees, as well as mental health counselling and support.

    Specific to health care workers, employers should, among other things:

     

  9.  Provide an adequate supply of appropriate N95 respirators on hand as well as PAPR (for aerosol-generating procedures, e.g. intubation) and other personal protective equipment.
  10. Conduct a risk assessment to determine all points of potential entry (and how to restrict them) and other points of potential exposure for workers (e.g. screening, triage, isolation rooms).

Related Articles

Canada’s unions urge government to stay on fiscal track

OTTAWA – The fiscal update released today shows that there is still room for economic expansion by the federal government. Canada’s approach so far has been measured and proportionate, with spending in line with other G7 countries. “A single deficit number does not tell the full story. If we look at the total debt to GDP ratio, Canada is still…
Read More

Government must continue to invest in workers and families

In anticipation of today’s fiscal update, Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government to hold steady on investing in the nation’s workers. The federal government moved quickly to respond to the economic fallout precipitated by COVID-19. Since March, the government has spent heavily on a variety of programs that ensure workers and businesses received support throughout this crisis. “The…
Read More

Supreme Court ruling on Uber underscores workers’ rights

OTTAWA – By ruling today that Uber drivers have a right to reasonable dispute resolution, the Supreme Court of Canada has defended the workers’ rights. “This decision underscores the message that a worker is a worker,” said Canadian Labour Congress President, Hassan Yussuff. “This ruling sends a clear message to employers that they can’t skirt around workers’ rights by using…
Read More